UrbanTurf Reader Poll: Small Building or Big Building?

by Mark Wellborn

After visiting 1617 Swann on Wednesday, we got to thinking about whether it is better to live in a small boutique condo building or a large new development. There are obviously pros and cons to both, but we're interested in which you would prefer. Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and let us know if you prefer the bigger new developments (e.g. The Flats at Union Row, CityVista) or smaller buildings (e.g. Cromley Lofts, Abingdon Row).

See other articles related to: dclofts

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_poll_small_building_or_big_building/781


  1. aj said at 10:36 am on Monday April 13, 2009:

    I think the smaller more unique buildings are a lot better in terms of character, but there may be some inherent efficiencies and economies of scale in a larger development. Also, larger condo projects may be more affordable to buy into. on the other hand, projects like Cromley Lofts are built with a lot more care and precision whereas something like the project at 9th and Florida are probably built with less than exemplary quality standards. If I could afford a Cromley-Loft-esque building it would be my first choice every time.

  1. Will Smith said at 11:00 am on Monday April 13, 2009:

    For me the big drawback for small buildings is the risk of building maintenance and management suffering if owners don’t or can’t pay their fees. In a building with six or seven units, if one single owner doesn’t pay, there goes more than 10% of the building’s budget! In a building with 200 units, that risk is spread much more thinly.

    Taking this to the extreme, consider the many rowhouse condo conversions throughout DC. In many cases those are only two- or three-unit condos. What if one owner stops paying the fees? Or what if one owner is simply dishonest or unfair or otherwise problematic. You’re stuck with dealing them! After all, the condo association is just you and them. Doesn’t this concern people?

  1. Pat Harrison said at 1:48 pm on Monday April 13, 2009:

    I just wanted to warn people about purchasing in smaller buildings and I could also use some advice.

    I live in a small condo building with four units which I purchased in 2006.  Three of the units are owner occupied and one is a rental.  The seller could not sell the last unit because the market had already collapsed by then and so he chose to rent it out.

    Since the seller could not sell all of the units, he is considered the condo president and let me tell you it’s been a nightmare.  Mice, damaged hardwood floors in 2nd bedroom from leaky siding, common areas always filthy dirty, holes in the building and recently, broken front door because one of the units have several hundred people including their two children living there that run in out 24 hours a day, they have no furniture so everything they say and do I can hear, they never shut up and they have not paid one penny of condo fees since they moved in two years ago.

    Last summer I had to pay out of my own pocket to have the main air conditioning unit on the roof repaired and I still have not been reimbursed.

    My neighbor across the hall and I pay our condo fees and can hardly get a return phone call from this guy or he thinks we complain too much and says there’s nothing he can do.

    There are more cons but I don’t think there’s enough time to tell it all.

    The pros of the building are that each unit has a private parking space in the back and it’s super close to metro, the grocery store, shopping and a major street; but tucked far enough back with row houses on tree lined street and for the most part, it’s very quiet.  I would say low condo fees but you see how that’s working out for me.

    Based on my current situation, I would say purchase in a larger building.

  1. Jeremy said at 8:38 pm on Friday April 17, 2009:

    Smaller is a better option for me.  I think there is more character is a smaller building and have more control of things to improve the space and make it current without tons of opionions and hurdles to overcome.  I think an attorney should get involved if things are not getting done with comments above.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾